Lymphedema and Lymphatic Disease Awareness

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Lymphedema and Lymphatic Disease Awareness

Postby patoco » Tue Jun 20, 2006 5:07 am

Lymphedema and Lymphatic Disease Awareness

THE FOLLOWING IS FROM THE WEB PAGE OF NEW YORK ASSEMBLYWOMAN ADELE COHEN, SPONSOR OF A SERIES OF LYMPHEDEMA AWARENESS BILLS DESERVING THE
SUPPORT OF NEW YORKERS.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN COHEN IS ALSO THE SPONSOR OF A5003A, AN INSURANCE LAW WHICH PROVIDES FOR THE DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF LYMPHEDEMA.

Robert Weiss, M.S.
Lymphedema Treatment Advocate
National Lymphedema Network

==========

Lymphedema and Lymphatic Disease Awareness

This spring, the Commission introduced a series of bills drafted to
promote lymphedema and lymphatic disease awareness and to provide
support for research and education about these diseases. It is
estimated that approximately six million men, women and children in the
United States are affected with either primary or secondary lymphedema
or lymphatic disease.

Lymphedema is an accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the interstitial
tissue that causes swelling, most often in the arm(s) or leg(s), and
occasionally in other parts of the body. Lymphedema can develop when
lymphatic vessels are missing or impaired (primary), or when lymph
vessels are damaged or lymph nodes removed (secondary). The swelling
caused by lymphedema and lymphatic diseases can lead to severe
infection or loss of the limbs, and patients suffering from lymphedema
and lymphatic diseases must endure physical discomfort and
disfigurement and cope with the stress caused by these systems.

The single largest group of people who acquire secondary lymphedema are cancer patients, including breast, prostate, gynecological, head, neck,
lung, sarcoma, and melanoma patients. Radiation therapy, used in the
treatment of these cancers and some AIDS-related diseases, can damage
otherwise healthy lymph nodes and vessels causing scar tissue to form
which interrupts the normal flow of the lymphatic fluid. If left
untreated, lymphedema can lead to a decrease or loss of functioning of
the limbs, skin breakdown, and chronic infections. In the most severe
cases, untreated lymphedema can develop into a rare form of lymphatic
cancer.

Despite the central role the lymphatic system plays in human health,
focus and research of this system has been relatively neglected. The
lack of focus combined with the lack of funded research has created
barriers to effective delivery of health care and public education
about these diseases, its diagnosis, treatment, therapy and long-term
care.

The following is a list of legislation related to lymphedema and
lymphatic disease introduced this session.

*

A.11077 (Cohen) would create a lymphedema and lymphatic disease
registry. Healthcare providers would be required to report the
existence of lymphedema and lymphatic disease to the department of
health for compilation into a registry of information and data. This
legislation would also create a lymphedema and lymphatic disease
advisory board.

*

A.11078 (Cohen) would require healthcare providers that report
cases of cancer or other malignant disease to also include instances of
lymphedema in patients coming under their care. This legislation would
also require information be provided to cancer patients seeking various
treatments of post-treatment risks such as lymphedema.

*

A.11079 (Cohen) would establish a fund within the department of
taxation and finance that can receive grants and other funds to be used
for research and education.

*

A.11080 (Cohen) would establish a lymphedema and lymphatic
disease research grants program. Grants, not to exceed fifty thousand
dollars, would be awarded on a completive basis to biomedical research
institutions that are conducting direct research related to lymphedema
and lymphatic disease.

Adele Cohen, Chairwoman
Legislative Commission on Science and Technology
Room 435 LOB • Albany, NY 12248 • 518.455.4811
2823 West 12 Street, Suite 1F • Brooklyn, NY 11224 • 718.266.0267

==========

Lymphedema People

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com
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